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Dear Sir... Readers' Views (04/10/16)

Your letters, your views...

Gardaí are right to withdraw their labour

I wish to agree wholeheartedly with the members of garda rank and their association on their decision to withdraw their labour on a number of days during November.

As a former member of the GRA executive, I am well aware of how various government parties have treated the gardaí. The Government are asking the members to sign up for the Landsdowne Road agreement after failing to follow through with the conditions they both signed up for in the last agreement. They promised to refund cuts made to garda wages and they promised also to refund the USC. Unlike other workers, they are denied the right to be members of a union or to strike or to be at the table to negotiate their pay. They are loaded down with stab vests, handcuffs, batons, pepper sprays etc, to go out on duty. They must carry the workload for the lack of backup due to the five year cut in recruiting, which is still going to take years to replace.

I am sure the vast majority of retired gardaí would say they are not sorry to be out of the force.

The AGSI will have to make their own decision but I believe they agreed to sign up to the Landsdowne Road agreement because the information supplied was not what it transpired to be.

The garda rank are in the frontline against the dregs of society, in many cases, drug crazed criminals, etc, and during the late hours are alone in pairs on dark country roads not knowing what they are likely to face. They are also the reluctant buffer between various protest groups who are becoming more and more threatening.

Tony Fagan

Bellefield Road
Co Wexford

Root cause

People have the “right” to expresses views and opinions on the question of proposed “action” by An Garda Síochána as the result of current “dispute”.

I have not seen or heard any reference made to the “root” cause of the problem — ie, the politicians and senior civil servants whose actions have directly lead to the financial difficulties faced by gardaí and indeed many other workers in this country.

These are the same politicians and civil servants who walk away with substantial pensions and “golden handshakes”. All this while the “normal

people” continue to suffer.

Michael A Moriarty


Can we believe in Sinn Féin support?

Sinn Féin supports the gardaí in their struggle with the establishment.

Am I hallucinating?

Niall Ginty

59 The Demesne
Dublin 5

We need to be more European

Your reference to Irish in the EU in last Monday’s editorial misses the point.

Cost: The total cost of translation and interpretation for all 24 official EU languages, a fund to which all EU countries, including Ireland, contribute whether Irish is included or not, is just €2 per EU citizen per year.

Benefit: The increase in Irish people working at EU level increases the country’s social capital. Many people move on from translation to positions where they have an input in EU policies which impact Ireland.

There is a pool of competent people interested in these EU posts. In the context of the 2014 EPSO lawyer-linguist competition for 10 places on panels for various languages 52 applied for the Irish language panel, 32 for Danish and 158 for English. The panel of 10 was filled for Irish. In the Current (2016) competition 210 candidates have applied for 62 places on a panel for Irish translators.

Use of Irish in EU Parliament exceeds that of Maltese and the Baltic languages. Seán Ó Neachtain (FF) spoke Irish only since 2007, as did Bairbre de Brún and Liadh Ní Riada (SF). Seán Kelly(FG) and Pat Gallagher (FF) speak quite an amount of Irish in Parliament This is a successful endeavour which on any balanced account benefits Irish interests.

Post Brexit we need to become more European and less British. Using our own language and deriving pride and dignity from that is part of that process.

Dáithí Mac Cárthaigh BL

An Leabharlann Dlí
Na Ceithre Cúirteanna
Baile Átha Cliath 7

Disability database: Still much to do

The National Intellectual Disability Database is an important resource and tool for change (“Intellectual disability database at record high”, 30 September 2016).

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which Ireland is due to ratify soon, specifies that ratifying countries must “recognise the equal right of all persons with disabilities to live in the community, with choices equal to others” and “take effective and appropriate measures to facilitate full enjoyment by persons with disabilities of this right and their full inclusion and participation in the community”.

In particular, “persons with disabilities” must “have access to a range of in-home, residential and other community support services, including personal assistance necessary to support living and inclusion in the community, and to prevent isolation or segregation from the community”.

In this context, it is heartening that the number of people with intellectual disabilities still resident in psychiatric hospitals has fallen slightly again, although it is very clear that more still needs to be done.

This issue is an especially important and long-standing one in Irish psychiatric facilities. In 1907, Dr Conolly Norman, outspoken and progressive medical superintendent at the Richmond District Asylum (later St. Brendan’s Hospital, Dublin), lamented the absence of services for people with intellectual disability: “It is neither wise nor humane to neglect this class as they are neglected in this country”.

While much progress has been made in the century since Dr Norman made this remark, the National Intellectual Disability Database demonstrates clearly that there is still much more to be done.

Brendan Kelly

Professor of Psychiatry
Trinity College Dublin

Implications of Brexit run deep

The recent speech by the UK prime minister tells us what too many people have been trying to cover up ie that Brexit is a momentous decision with enormous implications for not alone the UK but also the EU and not least for Ireland.

The Brexit vote could be the beginning of the breakup of the UK. But the implications of Brexit go much further than that. The Brexit vote could also be the start of the dismantling of the EU. The EU is a unique union of nearly thirty European democracies each of which, after centuries of imperial and totalitarian warfare, signed a treaty to co-operate in matters of mutual interest. The UK is tearing up that treaty.

In relation to Ireland Brexit is a redeclaration of the economic war of the nineteen thirties. At best the Brexit vote will have a deliterious effect, as yet undeclared, on the billion euro trade between the two countries on these islands.

In relation to Northern Ireland Brexit tears up the Good Friday Agreement which was supported in a referendum by the majority of people on this island.

By definition Brexit is a decision to put a border between the UK and the rest of the EU. Otherwise there was no point in voting for it. That border runs right across Ireland and the UK answer to that seems to be ‘So what. Suck it up’.

A Leavy

1 Shielmartin Drive
Dublin 13

Why we should become vegan

Mary Robinson’s recent comments on the connection between a meat-based diet and global warming state the blindingly obvious. But reducing the production of greenhouse gases is only one of several compelling reasons why people should adopt as vegan lifestyle. Going meat-free would go a long way towards solving the problem of world hunger. At this very moment, 840m people are going hungry, while the grain they need is being fed to animals to produce meat for that minority of people on the planet who can afford to buy it.

The role played by meat-eating in causing a range of serious diseases, including heart disease and cancer has been well highlighted by now, as has its role in contributing to the obesity epidemic we are currently experiencing in Europe and America.

But perhaps the most compelling argument of all for eliminating rotting flesh from our diet is that doing so would put an end to the immense suffering endured by the billions of animals reared and slaughtered every year to satisfy the taste buds of people in the affluent west.

Nuala Donlon

Co Longford


On Saturday morning last the RTÉ farming programme reported a speech by ex-president Mary Robinson concerning the connection between beef production and global warming!

I consider this spin from an ex president on one of the most important indigenous industries in this country to be extraordinary and irresponsible.

Michael O’Mara

Co Limerick


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